Some Like It Short: Story Writers Read and Celebrate Short Story Month

CPL presented a very special Short Story Month Celebration with four wonderful writers with recent books - Patricia Ann McNair, Kate Wisel, Rachel Swearingen, and Alex Poppe. 

Patricia Ann McNair has managed a gas station, served as a medical volunteer in Honduras, sold pots and pans door to door, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and now teaches in the English and Creative Writing Department of Columbia College Chicago. Her acclaimed short story collection Responsible Adults was released in December 2020 by Cornerstone Press. McNair’s  The Temple of Air received Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Readers Award and the Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. And These Are the Good Times was a Montaigne Medal finalist. She lives in Chicago with her husband, visual artist Philip Hartigan.

Rachel Swearingen is the author of How to Walk on Water (October 1, 2020), winner of the 2018 New American Press Fiction Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in VICE, The Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, Off Assignment, Agni, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, a 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. In 2019, she was named one of 30 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD from Western Michigan University, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Alex Poppe is the author of four works of fiction: Girl, World, stories, Moxie, a novel, Jinwar and Other Tales from The Levant, stories, (Fall, 2021, Cune Press) and Duende, a novella (2022, Regal House Publishing). Girl, World was named a 35 Over 35 Debut Book Award winner, First Horizon Award finalist, Montaigne Medal finalist, short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize and was awarded an Honorable Mention in General Fiction from the Eric Hoffer Awards. Her short fiction has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters contest, a nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and commended for the Baker Prize among others. When she is not being thrown from the back of food aid trucks or dining with pistol-packing Kurdish hitmen, she writes. 

Kate Wisel is the author of Driving in Cars With Homeless Men, winner of the 2019 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, selected by Min Jin Lee. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, Tin House online, Los Angeles Review, New Ohio Review, The Best Small Fictions 2019, Redivider (as winner of the Beacon Street Prize), and others. She is the recipient of the “Poetry on the T” prize and the Marcia Keach Prize. She was a Carol Houck fiction fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and awarded scholarships at The Wesleyan Writer’s Conference, the Squaw Valley Writer’s Workshop, the Juniper Institute, Writing x Writer’s at Tomales Bay and Methow Valley and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University.  

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